Outbreak of Parvoviral Enteritis (Parvo) among dogs

A significant increase in number of dogs infected with Parvo disease has been recorded at the veterinary hospital in Chubachu, Thimphu starting from the end of the February. An average of 4-5 dogs a day, which around more than 60 dogs in a month, are detected positive for the parvoviral disease.

The disease is said to be common in dogs, especially in puppies below 6 months of age and unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated dogs are also vulnerable to the disease. Dogs vaccinated with over-the-counter vaccines also appear to have a higher incidence of parvovirus, likely due to ineffective vaccine or improper use.

Anxious dog owners are worried about the health of their pet dogs, as the main symptoms of Parvo includes anorexia, lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting.

A pet dog owner, Tshering Gyem said her dog has been vomiting and remains totally inactive. She took her pet to the veterinary hospital for a checkup and was surprised to find many dogs with similar symptoms.

Head Veterinarian, Dr Kinley Dorji, said that the disease is highly contagious to the other dogs. The infectious viral disease is easily transmitted through feces of an infected animal. Therefore, maintaining good hygiene in dogs is crucial in the prevention of Parvo.

The recovery period is normally within 10 to 14 days after infection. Younger dogs are more susceptible to the disease, and therefore, it requires immediate medical attention.

“The survival rate is actually 50% or more, but the pet owners are bringing the dog only after the bloody diarrhea, which is a critical stage and the chance for survival is minimal,” Dr Kinley Dorji said, adding that the mortality rate also depends on the care given by the owners. “Some owners are fast in recognizing the behavioral changes and symptoms in dogs and are concerned to immediately check the dogs in hospital.”

The dogs that do not receive aggressive and appropriate treatment generally die due to dehydration.

According to the veterinary hospital most stray dogs have a high resistance to the virus compared to pedigree dogs which are highly sensitive to the disease. “Unlike some disease in dogs and human, this viral disease is said to be unseasonal and merely impossible to totally eradicate this disease in dogs,” Dr Kinley Dorji added.

. Rapid test kit is available at the veterinary center. This has made it easier to detect Parvo, which is often confused with a similar kind of disease in dog called corona virus. Dr Kinley Dorji said that the disease is not only prevalent in Thimphu but in other dzongkhags too

He also said it is important to vaccinate the dogs against rabies and other diseases. The vaccine DHPPi+L given to pets is said to be very effective in preventing five kinds of diseases with a single vaccine. It should be injected in puppies at 6 weeks of age, and the second time is administered as a booster dose after three weeks of the first injection and after that it is given annually.

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